Monday, October 17, 2005

A visit to Walatoola

I spent this past weekend with my friends Mike and Jim planting garlic at their farm in Bath County, VA. It was so good to get dirt under my nails again and to eat fresh produce from the garden.

The layout of this garden is a work of art and science. The fence itself runs along the driveway, but Jim carefully laid out the beds to make maximum use of the available sunlight on the valley floor. So when you walk into the garden from a gate at the corner of the garden, you walk straight down a long diagonal row. They had Silver Queen planted on either side of this diagonal path this summer, and it makes for a dramatic entry way.

We chose a spot near the back for the garlic. First we mowed it (the weeds were prodigious) and then Jim rototilled it. Then we fertilized six large beds that would become the garlic beds. We used Harmony, Azomite and colloidal phosphate plus an all purpose bag of composted manure for each bed. We rototilled again and then raked out stones and weeds and set four foot wide beds. That was evening and morning of the first day.

The next morning we laid out the planting holes using thin bamboo to mark the cross hatch. We used planting stock that they had picked up at the garlic festival in Saugerties, NY. They still have 15 lbs of planting stock coming in from Filaree Farm. We planted 140 soft necks spaced 6x8 and 140 stiff necks spaced 5x8. We were done by noon.

I used some of the remaining time to harvest tomatoes, skin them, seed them and bag them in a freezer bag. Sunday morning before I left, I took some Swiss chard, some Malabar spinach, some peppers and a few flowers. It feels great to be gardening again. Thanks, Walatoola!


Judith said...

Hi, Leslie,

Love your report from Walatoola. I am blown away by garlic now that I am learning from your blog. It really is fascinating. How nice to dig in the soil!!!

kerry said...

I will plant my garlic tomorrow here in Kentucky. Looking forward to next years harvest.